Monday, July 17, 2006

Tournament Recap - Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic

Despite leading by three shots with five holes to play, everybody's favorite Calendar Girl Natalie Gulbis failed to notch her first LPGA victory...AGAIN!! Mi Hyun Kim caught her with a birdie on 17 and then birdied the third playoff hole for the win, her second of this season.

The worst thing about it is that Natalie is now within shouting distance of Anna Kournakova territory. You know - looks great, can't play? Not that I believe that Natalie is ultimately doomed to Anna-dom, but I feel the commentators are getting weary of telling us that "she's going to win - it's only a matter of time - there's too much talent there" and they will start leaning towards the "unrealized potential" section of their cliche books.

And Natalie doesn't deserve that. She makes the cut 95% of the time, she's won over $2 million in her career and a quarter of that has come just this season. Over those last five regulation holes she really only hit one poor shot - her approach to 17 - and she recovered to save par there. The day was lost when she couldn't manage just one more birdie putt over the last eight holes she played. There were about four realistic birdie chances, but nothing closer than 8-10 feet. Kim just hauled her down from behind (now there's an interesting mental picture for you!) and Paula Creamer almost did it too.

I didn't intend for my first tourney recap to be All-Gulbis but hey, cut me a little slack. Kudos to Mi Hyun Kim for hanging on after Natalie's hot start and making that birdie on the third playoff hole - she certainly earned the victory, firing 65 on Sunday. Paula Creamer missed a birdie try at 18 or she would've probably stolen the title for herself. This week's Big Surprise was Laura Davies going into Sunday just two shots behind. Laura had only made three cuts prior to this week and her best finish (in a medal-play tourney) had been T25th. Her Sunday 75 dropped her to T13th. Oh yeah, Annika's "off-year" continued with her 8th-place finish, her 10th Top Ten in 12 tournaments. If she could only fix that bad putting and shoddy iron play...